Potential 2020 Census undercount could impact rural, immigrant communities

Officials say Kern County at risk of undercount
Posted at 6:47 PM, Jun 28, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-28 21:47:03-04

BAKERSFIELD, CA. — Community leaders, city mayors, council members and advocates came together Friday in hopes of encouraging everyone to participate in the 2020 Census.

Officials say Kern County is at risk for an undercount this upcoming year.

"Delano is a low socioeconomic community and so there are a lot of the communities being represented today, so I think there are a lot of folks that are maybe misinformed," said Delano City Mayor Joe Aguirre.

Research shows people in rural and suburban communities are at higher risk of not being counted for.

Cities like Arvin, Wasco, Delano and McFarland are representations of that locally. Those cities also have a high population of immigrants who experts say are historically less likely to participate in the census.

"Folks won't share all of their information, they will maybe withhold information about their children or their families. We are encouraging everyone to not be afraid or ashamed, share your information and share your status if necessary," said Wasco City Mayor Alex Garcia.

Officials also warned that an undercount could have lasting ramifications on communities.

"In 2015, two government programs used the census data for the basis and formulas of their programs and allocation of $675 billion. Programs like SNAP, Medicare and reduced school lunches," said Garcia.